Category Archives: Chinese

Shang Pin Hot Pot, Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel

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Step out of the comforts of Hai Di Lao and Beauty in the Pot. Shang Pin Hotpot at Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel is arguably the most affordable alternative to the two big players. As a bonus, there’s hardly any queue especially at the Marina Square branch because the floor area is huge!

I’ve visited both branches and there’s a stark contrast in ambience and service between both branches. Go for the Marina Square branch if you can.

I’ve included pictures from both Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel just to show you the contrast.

Exterior and interior of Rendezvous Hotel branch (my pictures look better than the reality!):

Exterior and interior of Marina Square branch, so huge that they have a children’s play area:

Below pictures are a mix from both branches; quality is similar with some differences which I’ll mention.

(L) Tomato Soup, (R) Pig Stomach and Chicken Soup, (M) Mushroom Soup.

The price of the soup is dependent on the most expensive soup you’ve selected. It doesn’t matter if you select one, two or three soups, they charge you only for one soup base. In this case, the pig stomach was the most expensive at $20.

Meat Festival, $24.

I giggled at the name of the dish. At one point the service at Rendezous was so slow that I had to ask the staff “is my Meat Festival coming soon?” Apart from that, good quality slices of beef, mutton and pork. The beef was really fatty though.

Fish Egg Ball (half portion), $6.

Ordered this in lieu of fancy pastes. Unlike HDL and BITP, Shang Pin’s pastes are rather ordinary and common. This was the most interesting fresh paste ball out of the entire selection.

(L) Mushroom Platter (half portion), $7. (R) Cabbage (full portion), $4.

I thought the mushroom platter was value for money. 5 different types of mushrooms for $7! The mushrooms here are about $5 to $6 for full portions so the amount you pay for variety is well spent.

Fried Beancurd Skin (full portion), $6.

I ordered this dish at both outlets but somehow it seems like ordering the half portion is more worth it. The above picture has 6 rolls (Rendezvous Hotel) but when I ordered the half portion for $3 (Marina Square), I got 4 rolls! So I should be getting 8 rolls at Rendezvous but somehow only got 6. Hmm.

Shrimp Paste (half portion), $7.

This is a must order when you’re here. The shrimp paste was crunchy and fresh.

Shang Pin Beef, $16.

The Rendezous Hotel one came rather frozen, causing its texture to be a little rough after cooking. The Marina Square (above) came thawed and fresh looking.

US Beef (half portion), $7.

My advice is to skip this and go straight for the Shang Pin Beef. The difference is only $2 for the full portion but the quality is so, so different.

US Black Pork (half portion), $6.50.

Look at the balance of fats to lean meat! I only thought it was slightly unsightly that the meat was cut in half. Doesn’t have that shiok feeling if you know what I mean.

Chinese Dumplings (half portion), $2.50.

The dumplings were normal tasting. What caught my attention writing this part was that I realised I had 6 dumplings for $2.50. Not sure if they had mistakenly given me the full portion but if not, $2.50 for 6 dumplings is so worth it!

Overall, you can expect the price per pax to be about $40. It’s still not really within the budget of an everyday hotpot meal, but it’s slightly cheaper than HDL and much cheaper than BITP. There’s no fancy waitressing or gifts at all, but the amount of food you get here is definitely more than the other two places. The variety at Shang Pin honestly is not as great, but it suffices. Best of all, NO LONG QUEUES!

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-102, S(039594)

+65 6565 7666

Daily: 11am to 12am

Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, #02-02, S(189559)

+65 6238 7666

Daily: 12 noon to 12am

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Imperial Treasure Steamboat, Ion Orchard

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Having tried big hotpot brands like Beauty in the Pot (BITP) and Hai Di Lao (HDL), how does this good ol’ skool steamboat compare?

For starters, the sauce station is brought to you.

You can mix your own concoction, or have them mix one for you depending on your preferred level of spicyness. I recommend getting them to do it!

Doesn’t look appetising here but trust me it’s superb! I was shocked at the amount of sauce initially but by the end of the meal I was down to less than half.

For soup bases, they don’t have fancy flavours of the likes of HDL and BITP. Since I’ve decided to go old skool, I chose a familiar broth — Healthy Chicken ($17).

Spread of dishes plus more (below).

Four Treasure Ball Platter ($14).

Kurobuta Pork Belly ($14).

Beef Brisket ($20).

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin ($6).

Assorted mushrooms ($8.80).

Fresh Prawn Paste ($14).

Assorted Vegetables ($6.80).

For the above, my total bill came up to $140 for 2 pax. I would say for the standards, quality and amount of food, the price is justified. The meats were really fresh and of good thickness, while the handmade balls were flavourful and bouncy! I also loved the fresh prawns paste and definitely the fun of squeezing it into the soup.

The $140 bill is not a good reflection of what you will spend for 2 pax. I definitely over ordered. At the end of the meal I was left with at least half of the fresh meat. That said, I totally skipped the part of the menu with the fresh seafood (think: Boston lobsters going for $13/100g). I can imagine big families with rich grandparents eating here for their birthdays.

2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #04-09/10, Singapore 238801

+65 6636 9339

Daily: 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm

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Kai Garden, Marina Square

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Okay so in my world of dim sum I’ve only regarded Imperial Treasures Nan Bei Takashimaya as the place to go to for great dim sum. I can now add another place to that — Kai Garden.

Kai Garden at Marina Square is opened by chef Fung Chi Keung, previously from Paradise Group, the people behind the famous colourful Xiao Long Bao. The Cantonese restaurant prides itself on their Peking Duck, known for different flavoured wraps and dips. I was excited to try it, until I saw their executive set lunch.

Without second thoughts I ordered Set Lunch A to share with my partner. No point having two of the same set, plus, Kai Garden’s dim sum menu looked too appealing. So I added some dim sum to the lunch.

Honey BBQ Pork, Deep Fried Beancurd Roll with Prawns, Sliced Peking Duck with Condiments.

Daily Double Boiled Soup.

Baked Cod Fillet with Teriyaki Sauce with Enoki Wrapped in Kurobuta Pork.

Pan Seared Glutinuous Rice with Egg and Black Truffle.

Chilled Fresh Coconut Puree.

I looked forward to every dish, and for sure I wasn’t disappointed. Every dish was well executed and tasty.

While the dishes sound ordinary, it was the little touches that really made the dish a notch higher. For example, the baked cod fish was placed on a crispy biscuit of sorts. Very innovative.

I particularly liked the fresh coconut puree because this was my first time having something like that at a Chinese restaurant for dessert. It was refreshing and cooling, perfect way to end the meal on a light note.

Deep Fried Scallop with Mango Roll, $6.80.

The mango roll was really light and crispy! The sauce within also complemented it really well, not too much not too little. Highly recommend this dim sum.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling (Ha Gao), $6.50.

The skin of any Ha Gao is always the hardest to get right. I gave this a thumbs up because of that reason. The prawns within were big and crunchy as well but the skin was the winner for me.

Crispy Cheong-fun with Minced Mushrooms, $5.60.

When I saw crispy cheong-fun I immediately thought it was you tiao wrapped in cheong-fun skin and topped with minced mushrooms. Nope, it wasn’t like that. Instead, the insides of the cheong-fun were filled with fluffy and crunchy bits alongside the minced mushroom. To help maintain the crispyness, the cheong-fun sauce is left by the side and you should only dip a piece into the sauce before eating. I highly recommend this dish as well.

By now you would have noticed that Kai Garden comes with a steep price tag. It may seem that a $6.50 Ha Gao is too much for dim sum but think about the other dishes. For its creativity, exquisiteness and ambience, I’d say Kai Garden is worth every penny and calorie.

6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, #03-128A/128B, S(039594)

Weekdays: 1130am to 330pm, 6pm to 11pm

Weekends: 11am to 4pm, 6 to 11pm

+65 6250 4826

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8 CNY snacks to usher in the new year, Takashimaya

It’s pretty in pink at Takashimaya this CNY 2018 as local and overseas bakeries bring forth their best cookies to the table. Littlemissramen visited the fair on the first day of the event and here are my top favourites.

1. Yuzu Orange, Divine Cookies

This is my top favourite because after eating all the heavy and dense foodstuff everybody stuffed you with (because CNY), this unassuming, petite biscuit magically breaks the tardiness with it’s refreshing and light texture. You’re good to chiong again, and you’re welcome.

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2. Purple Boo-Berry, The Cookie Museum

Unfortunately the sales girl stopped me before I could get a better picture.

The name doesn’t do justice to what’s inside the cookie. It has purple wheat, purple corn, blueberry, oats and white chocolate. How’s that for a super power healthy cookie? You probably can’t tell there’s so much goodness in one single cookie because of the intense flavour of the blueberry, but I’m not complaining. the taste is excellent. These do not come cheap but they’re definitely worth a try.

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3. Bak Kut Teh Cookies, Old Seng Choong

Having this around will definitely break the silence during awkward CNY gatherings. Kampong Spirit also carries other unique flavours such as cereal prawn, but I felt that the Bak Kut Teh was the most outstanding.

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4. Caramel Oat Cookies, Kele

Yet another healthy cookie on the list this year. Those watching your weight will definitely feel less guilty munching this snack. I do shudder at the thought of an oat cookie, but caramel makes everything taste and sound good for some reason. Side point: Kele’s infographics are way too cute!

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5. Pink Champagne, Christine’s by The Cookie Museum

Okay I’m familiar with champagne in mooncakes but champagne in cookies? Now that’s something new, and definitely a crowd pleaser. Pink Champagne not only has liqueur, but also rose petals, grapefruit and cereal within. While the alcoholic tones weren’t particularly obvious, the grapefruit and rose petals certainly helped to carry the flavour through.

6. Three Layers White Cloudy Cookies, The Bakerhaus

If you’re tired of eating too much of the crumbly cookie texture, then I suppose the Three Layers White Cloudy Cookie would be a nice alternative. In all honesty the name of the cookie sounds a little silly, but trust me, you’ll be wanting your second piece in no time. There’s a crumbly layer yes, but quickly you’ll also feel an airy, sweet meringue layer.

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7. Salted Egg Potato Chips, Aunty Esther

The salted egg hype has been given a new breath of air because of the recent Straits Times article. I would say that their chips are really light yet the salted egg flavour is both creamy and gao.

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8. Lychee Kueh Bangkit, Butter Studio

Kueh Bangkit is one of my childhood favourites and I’m so glad Butter Studio still has the lychee flavoured ones this year. I ate this last year and made a mental note to find them again this year and so I did.

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Bonus: CNY Hampers, Asian Treasures

If you’re feeling generous this year and would like to up your hamper gifting game, do check out Asian Treasures for their CNY hampers. I particularly like this year’s hampers because apart from the usual Chinese delicacies like abalone, Asian Treasures’ hampers have incorporated local bakes like salted egg yolk cookies.

The Takashimaya fair runs from now till 14 Feb 18.

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Imperial Treasures Nan Bei, Takashimaya

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Imperial Treasures Nan Bei Takashimaya is my favourite place to go when I’m craving for good dim sum. Many would think this place is super atas just by its looks and name, but in reality the prices here are rather justified for the standards and comfort.

Xiao Long Bao, $6.80.

I always lookout for the thickness of the skin, as well as the amount and flavour of the soup. It is rather difficult to make a XLB with a thin skin that remains unbroken when you pick it up with your chopsticks. By the way, you should pick up your XLB by pinching your chopsticks close to the knot. Happy to say that the XLB at Imperial Treasures Nan Bei met my standards.

Siew Mai, $6.20. Har Kau, $6.80.

Typical dishes for a dim sum meal. Again, the skins of the siew mai and har kau were rather thin and easy on the palate. This is unlike some other har kau where the skins are thick and starchy.

Shrimp Cheong Fun, $7.

I loved this dish. The sauce was the right amount of salty, and the cheong fun was light.

You Tiao Cheong Fun, $7.

I hardly see this at dim sum shops, but when I do, it comes already soaked in the sauce, making it soggy. Here, they separate the sauces so you get maximum crispyness. The you tiao itself was super fluffy and not oily at all.

Roasted Pork, $12.

Everyone knows that a good roasted pork depends on the texture of the pork skin, followed by the ratio of fats to lean meat. This dish was well done.

Pork Ribs, $5.30.

Well if there was one dish I would skip, this would be it. Not that it’s horrible, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me.

La Mian with Hot and Sour Soup, $12.

I thought this would taste ordinary, but it was surprisingly tasty. The balance of spicyness against the sour tinge was well executed, and the dish is kinda addictive contrary to the jelat impression it gives.

Liu Sha Bao, $5.80.

The Liu Sha Bao here is one of the best Liu Sha Baos in Singapore. There’s more custard than the bun can handle, the texture of the custard is smooth, and the salted egg yolk taste is gao. A must try at Imperial Treasures Nan Bei.

Daily Soup, $28.

The daily soup is good for about 6-8 pax. They will first scoop just the soup for everyone (because afterall, all the essence of the meat and ingredients are in the soup), then lay out the edible ingredients on a plate. I didn’t try the meat, but my guests said it was soft and tender.

Osmanthus Jelly, $4.80.

Great way to end the meal. Look at how gao the Osmanthus jelly is!!! I could finish the whole plate by myself.

Overall, Imperial Treasures Nan Bei is on the pricy side, but you can be assured that the quality of the food and service standards matches your dollar. If you want to celebrate a family member’s birthday but think that zichar is too common and boring, why not consider this place?

Do make your reservations early if you’re planning to dine on weekends as they’re usually quite packed (I made reservations for lunch a day before and couldn’t get a good time. Had to start my “lunch” at 1030am).

391 Orchard Road, #05-12, S(238873)

+65 6738 1238

Mondays to Saturdays: 11am to 10pm

Sundays and PHs: 1030am to 10pm

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Teo Heng Teochew Porridge, Hong Lim Market and Food Centre

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Good Teochew porridges are a rare commodity these days but at least they can still be found. Teo Heng Teochew Porridge in particular is my new favourite, especially during a rainy day.

$50.

I had their braised duck, braised pork belly and intestines, stuffed taupok, fish cake, boiled squid, salted vegetables and tunghoon cabbage (both not in pic). All of their dishes were superb. Not a single miss.

The braised meat and stuffed taupok were rather well done, so no complaints about that. The fish cake on the other hand, wow, it is as pure as it can get. The fish cake was super soft yet springy. What a pleasant surprise.

The boiled squid was not rubbery or hard to chew at all. It comes with a sweet sauce, which made it a dish that you can eat even without the porridge.

Special mention goes to the salted vegetables. When we ordered a bowl each (trust me, it isn’t that salty and it goes very well with the porridge), the uncle was quite shocked and said “nobody eats salted vegetables like that!!”. We later found out that the salted vegetables usually comes with fresh fish rather than as a stand-alone side dish. No wonder the salted vegetables tasted so fragrant.

Their braised eggs are also worth mentioning. Somehow they have the time and effort to monitor the timing of their braised eggs, because the yolk was lava-ish!!! Whuuut. Super mind blowing. Mind you, these are old folks running the stall.

Although the stall opens till 2pm, when I went for lunch at 12noon, items were already starting to get sold out. For example, we were one of the last few to enjoy the tunghoon cabbage, which, by the way, was very rich and tasty.

531A Upper Cross Street, Hong Lim Market and Food Centre, #01-56, S(051531)

Mondays to Saturdays: 7am to 2pm

Closed Sundays.

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Upot, Singapore Post Centre

Worth a try.

The newly renovated Singpost Centre just opened for business and like any other Singaporean that loves checking a new mall out, I paid a visit on a Saturday evening. 

Taiwan’s famous hotpot chain Upot opened a branch here so without a doubt I had to try it out. When I reached there at 630pm the queue was super long. Likely because they were having a promotion (more details below).

Tip: Make your reservations ahead of time! The kiasu me had already made my reservations earlier in the day. 


The food is served on a conveyor belt. There’s something about clocking up as many plates as you can when dining at a conveyor belt restaurant. Challenge accepted.


The good thing about this place is that you have your own personal hotpot. You can choose your own soup base, and put in whatever items you want. You’re your own chef. 


There are six varieties of soup for you to choose from. Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot ($9.80), Japanese Kombu and Bonito Soup ($7.80), Thai Tom Yam ($7.80), Tomato Soup ($7.80), Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup ($8.80) and Wild Mushroom Soup ($7.80). 

The food items are classified into different coloured plates. Green ($0.99), Orange ($1.99), Blue ($2.99) and Red ($3.99).


I tried the Tomato Soup. Every pot of soup comes with a bowl of vegetables and mushrooms. I loved my tomato soup. It was so sweet and addictive that I drank as much of the soup as I could. My party of six tried the other soups including Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot, Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup and Wild Mushroom Soup. No complaints, except for the Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot where there was too much zha within. I also saw a couple of patrons scooping out the zha halfway through their meal. 

While the soups were rather tasty, the food items were a major downer. Essentially, what you see on the conveyor belt is what you get. There’s no universal menu to refer to, so you don’t know what you don’t know unless you ask the staff for it. For example, I had to ask the staff what sort of staples they offered (for info, rice, udon and dong fen). To add on, imagine my regret from stuffing myself silly earlier in the meal with all the meats when the mushrooms and meatballs suddenly appeared at the end. Also, it didn’t occur to me that I had forgotten to ask about fish slices until I had left the place.

The upside of it is that the meat slices are sliced shabu-shabu style so it’s quite shiok to eat. If you visit from now till 11 Nov 17, they are having a 1-for-1 promotion on all red plates (all meats). In my opinion, it’s not that worth it to eat without the promotion. Look at my plate of beef above — 4 to 5 slices for $4? Don’t forget the GST and service charge. 


There’s a charge of $2 if you want the sauces. Honestly, their sauce variety is not anything out of the ordinary so I really can’t reconcile them charging me $2 just to have soya sauce with garlic and spring onions. 

40 plates for a company of 6. The bill came up to $160 (about $26 per person with the promotion. Without the promotion it would have cost about $32 per person). Talking about the plates, this place is way too cramped. It was a challenge to maneuver my space with my pot of soup, cup of drink, bowl of vegetables, bowl of cooked ingredients, and the pile of plates which can’t be cleared because they need to count the number of coloured plates for you to make your payment. One way is to pile them on top of the conveyer. Unglam, but you have no choice.

Definitely not that worth it compared to other steamboat places like Beauty in the Pot and Shi Li Fang. Won’t be back here again, but you could try this out for the novelty. 

10 Eunos Road 8, #01-137/138, S(408600)

+65 6741 6666

Daily: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 10pm

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